Friday, July 31, 2020
Is It Time For The State To Pay Up?
Long lines and unsafe traffic conditions at recently reopened NJ Motor Vehicle Commission locations has been a burden on local police departments, and State Senator Anthony M. Bucco wants to ensure the state picks up the tab for the increased expenses.
“It’s the right thing to do. The MVC is responsible to cover the costs for these issues,” said Bucco (R-25). “It’s their job to ensure things run smoothly, and when they drop the ball like they have done with the reopening of facilities, they can’t expect cash-strapped municipalities to take the hit.”
Bucco introduced legislation (S-2762) requiring the state to reimburse towns for costs incurred as a result of the long lines at MVC locations.
“The re-openings were botched,” said Bucco. “After closing their doors when Governor Murphy locked down the state, MVC was clearly unprepared and overwhelmed for what would happen when they opened again. Police were called in to ensure traffic safety and control the large crowds. This came at a significant cost to police departments and municipalities. The impact on Randolph in my district has been severe, and it’s the same across the state. Local taxpayers should not be forced to shoulder that burden and residents shouldn’t have to sacrifice police protection in their neighborhoods.”
The Senator’s bill would appropriate $500,000 in federal CARES Act money to establish a fund to pay back local governments for expenses incurred by local police departments for the management and control of crowds and traffic at New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission locations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All of this should have been avoided,” said Bucco. “Weeks before MVC reopened the doors, I urged the commissioner to implement plans to handle an enormous backlog of paperwork and customers. My emails went unanswered and we all witnessed the results. MVC’s mistakes created the problems this bill addresses.”
Bucco’s legislation would be retroactive to March 9, 2020, when Murphy issued Executive Order No. 103 declaring a public health emergency and state of emergency.